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OCD Love review at Sadler’s Wells, London – ‘slinky and sinuous’

A scene from OCD Love at Sadler's Wells. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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To an accelerated metronomic beat a female figure slowly unlocks herself like a safecracker searching for the right combination. In a series of deep, powerful bends and elastic extensions, she moves around the stage in a golden light like a mantis at dawn.

As the electronic ticking is overlaid by the low thrum of an organ a male figure enters at a similar pace, one hand extended as if holding an invisible guitar. They cross each other’s paths until joined by the remaining four dancers all similarly – but not identically – clad in black.

The soundscape rises in tempo and volume and the six figures shift through violent relationships; an encounter between two women, one confident, one nervous concludes with a finger jab to the eyes. A woman is used as a human battering ram and a rare passage of pellucid harmony ends with a shocking punch.

Former Batsheva Dance Company choreographer Sharon Eyal creates sinuous, alarming patterns, weaving disparate elements into a clear muscular identity; slow locking and popping, hip-wiggling 1960s disco dancing, the slinky sneer of the girls in Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love video and even a brief nod to Swan Lake are all embedded in the work.

If its contained power is occasionally dissipated by its length and the broader gestures, OCD Love snatches back the attention with the force of a slap around the face. This is love on the dark side in which all the participants are caught in a riptide they are powerless to resist.

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